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LI Ting
Renmin University of China Law School
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SEP 2014 FOCUS:PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN CHINA---EDITOR'S NOTE

        Tort Law of the People’s Republic of China provided for punitive damages for the first time in Article 47 Chapter 5, although the existing consumer protection law, contract law and intellectual property law contained similar institutions. The direct reason for the introduction of this exotic institution, imported from USA, lies primarily in the Sanlu milk powder scandal. Many questions, such as its conformity with the current Chinese legal system, its application, and its likely influence on Chinese adjudication, still remain unclear.
        Focusing on this issue are three papers from Europe, America and China. Austrian scholar Prof. Koziol is a leading expert in tort law. He has acted as consultant expert for lawmakers from the National People’s Congress on tort law. His paper points out the insufficient justification for the introduction of this institution into jurisdictions with a civil law tradition. Taking a contrary position, Prof. Johnson, who is also an internationally recognized expert with close contacts with Chinese lawyers, stands for the adoption of this institution in Chinese tort law. However, based on the review of restraints and limitations imposed by American courts in the past decades, he gives some very important suggestions for the future application of this institution in China. Prof. Zhu Yan (and his student) actually conducts a historical review of punitive damage in Chinese law, which is not confined to tort law, but rather extends to consumer protection law, contract law and administrative law. It is worth noting that this analysis also includes the important cases regarding this topic. The three papers provide a more or less panoramic view of this institution in terms of comparative research. It is still on open question as to whether or not this institution can become one of law in action, because there are still no relevant cases roughly five years after the Chinese Tort Law came into effect in 2009

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